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Jul 4, 2008 10:39 PM

Char siu - not bao?

Hi, I apologize if this question has an answer somewhere buried in the boards. I've been looking for weeks and I can't find much on char siu - BBQ/roasted pork. I assume that's because it is a fairly generic request - and likely on dozens of menus.

I'm looking for nice, crispy, juicy char siu on rice. My husband grew up in Toronto, where like NYC and Vancouver, Chinese BBQ joints line the streets, all hanging their BBQ'd ducks and pigs in the window. But those are Chinatowns...and we have Chinese cities! So much ground to cover! Even as often as we get out to the SGV, we haven't really seen anything comparable. I'm sure we are just in the wrong spots. Can you point me to somewhere we can find char siu on rice with broccoli or bok choi. We've had Sam Woo's and it's alright. We are hoping to find better. Also, I did notice a strand on Unlimited BBQ...but the reviews were mixed at best. Can you steer me in the right direction?

Like this:

Thank you!

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  1. That looks good enough to eat!!!

    1. Try New Won Kok in LA Chinatown, their char sui that is on the juicy side.
      Sam Woo BBQ is kind of a loosely knit restaurant chain and the quality varies from location to location, but their BBQ is consistently pretty good.

      1. I will only vouch for the BBQ Unlimited in the Valley on Sherman Way. Great BBQ char sui. Also vouch for Joe Woo's on Sepulveda and Victory.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Hughlipton

          Count me in with the recommendation on BBQ Unlimited in the Valley. The Melrose/101 branch is not quite as good but is good enough to prevent a drive to the SGV if you want what they're good at.

          BBQ Unlimited in the Valley also has excellent jook, and serviceable (but nowhere near SGV-quality) bao. In addition, I love their asparagus beef, especially now when asparagus is high-quality. The problem is parking -- their valet is awful and there's absolutely no street parking whatsoever. Either park on Ethel St. and don't leave anything out in your car, or park in the K-Mart parking lot, do the Death Sprint across Sherman Way, and hope you don't get towed.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            The gai bao is better than the pork buns. Try their shrimp in lobster sauce. I have never had a problem with their parking. If no slots I just hand the keys over to the parking lot attendants and go in and eat. I have never had anything taken from my car.

            1. re: Hughlipton

              There's no problem with the honesty of their valets -- the "don't leave anything out in your car" was for the street parking in the neighbourhood south of Sherman Way, where I used to live. The problem with their valet parking is that it gets so jammed that it can take 30 minutes for them to shuffle all the cars if you're unlucky and your car is blocked in by two rows of cars -- not to mention that it's often full to capacity anyway.

              I agree that the gai bao are better than the cha siu bao, but my favourite bao at BBQ Unlimited is the lai wong bao -- the yellow cream ones.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Thank you for your response. I do agree tht sometimes the shuffling of cars can be a wait but the food and the prices almost justify it.

        2. I would suggest U2 BBQ in Alhambra, on Valley just west of New Ave. They have the ducks and pigs, etc. hanging in a case as you walk in, and they have very good char siu (which I have always spelled "chashu"). They also have a plate of char siu on rice that goes for a very reasonable $4.95 or so, with a generous portion of both. U2 has a cafe on one side and a conventional Chinese restaurant on the other, so make sure you go to the restaurant side.

          2 Replies
          1. re: monkuboy

            wow this is great! keep the replies coming. my husband and i are going to make a list and try them all!

            and monkuboy, you may be right about the seems that lots of Chinese words have multiple spellings. i think i've seen "shumai" 4 different ways!


            1. re: jjsawrey

              Speaking of BBQ Unlimited, there Bok Jum Guy (Steamed White Chicken) blows Sam Woo 9on Sepulveda) away. I tried it last week and it was real juicy and super plump and meaty. Probably a steroid chicken! Incredible.

          2. Since you're on a mission how about Yum Cha Cafe, the inexpensive dim sum place.
            They have just a few rice dishes and char siu and rice is one of them- maybe $3.95?

            In the San Gabriel Superstore in San Gabriel (on Valley Blvd./San Gabriel Blvd), in Monterey Park next to Shun Fat market on Atlantic and in LA Chinatown on Broadway (near the dragon sculpture over Broadway).